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Review
. 2012 May;36(5):1382-99.
doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.02.012. Epub 2012 Feb 25.

A Neuroanatomical Model of Prefrontal Inhibitory Modulation of Memory Retrieval

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Free PMC article
Review

A Neuroanatomical Model of Prefrontal Inhibitory Modulation of Memory Retrieval

Brendan E Depue. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Memory of past experience is essential for guiding goal-related behavior. Being able to control accessibility of memory through modulation of retrieval enables humans to flexibly adapt to their environment. Understanding the specific neural pathways of how this control is achieved has largely eluded cognitive neuroscience. Accordingly, in the current paper I review literature that examines the overt control over retrieval in order to reduce accessibility. I first introduce three hypotheses of inhibition of retrieval. These hypotheses involve: (i) attending to other stimuli as a form of diversionary attention, (ii) inhibiting the specific individual neural representation of the memory, and (iii) inhibiting the hippocampus and retrieval process more generally to prevent reactivation of the representation. I then analyze literature taken from the White Bear Suppression, Directed Forgetting and Think/No-Think tasks to provide evidence for these hypotheses. Finally, a neuroanatomical model is developed to indicate three pathways from PFC to the hippocampal complex that support inhibition of memory retrieval. Describing these neural pathways increases our understanding of control over memory in general.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Three hypotheses of how inhibition of memory retrieval may function, including: direct inhibition (PFC specific inhibition of a single neural representation), reactivation inhibition (PFC general inhibition of the retrieval process) and competitive attentional inhibition (diversionary attentional distraction from a specific memory).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Cumulative fMRI results across all three tasks using meta-analysis techniques to illustrate common PFC (anterior to pre-central gyrus) and posterior cortical regions (posterior to pre-central gyrus) involved in inhibition of retrieval. Hot colors represent greater activation (NT>T), while cold colors represent negative activation (T>NT).
Figure 3
Figure 3
The Lateral, Medial and Hippocampal-Prefrontal pathways (Hip = hippocampus proper, Retro = retrosplenial cortex, PS = presubiculum, Sub = subiculum, EC = entorhinal cortex, PHG = parahippocampal gyrus, VTA = ventral tegmental area, NAcc = nucleus accumbens core, GP = globus pallidus, VMPFC = ventromedial prefrontal cortex, MFG = middle frontal gyrus).
Figure 4
Figure 4
Inhibitory circuitry involved in response inhibition (orange), fear extinction and emotion regulation (green), and a proposed circuit for inhibition of memory retrieval (red), (AMY = amygdala, Central = central nucleus, ICMs = intercalated cell masses, HIP = hippocampus, BG = basal ganglia, STN = subthalamic nucleus, GP = globus pallidus).

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